No. 89 Peter Tuipulotu – Running back – 1987, 1989-1991
5.5 yards per carry. That is the average that Peter Tuipulotu held over his career at BYU. I wanted to put him at 55 to make this a better story, but he doesn’t have the rankings to make it there.
Tuipulotu could have been a really special running back except that the Cougars didn’t really run the ball from 1987-1991 because of a player named Ty Detmer. To give perspective, in 1990 Tuipulotu rushed 98 times, not only leading the team, but being leading by 28 rushing attempts. In 2016 Jamaal Williams had 234 rushing attempts.
Despite not getting many carries, Tuipulotu still was able to have a good career by adding receptions to his game pulling down 91 career receptions for over 1,000 yards. We will never know Tuipulotu full potential, but from what we got, he earned the No. 89 spot.
It is really tough to be on the same team as Ty Detmer and expect to be a big impact player. In 1990, Tuipulotu’s best season, Detmer threw for 5,188 yards. When you throw for that many yards, running the ball doesn’t really need to be part of the game plan unless it is a blowout, in which Tuipulotu wouldn’t be in the game. That season however, Tuipulotu averaged 6.7 yards per carry. Perhaps some of that can be given to teams expecting the pass, basically giving the first few yards to Tuipulotu, either way averaging 6.7 yards is an impact stat.
Statistics C+ (or A+ if the internet never lies)
Again this is tough to grade because of the nature of his role. The 6.7 yards is probably good for fifth all time in a season and the 5.5 average for a career is third all time at BYU. There is no way to see where running backs rank in receiving yards, but the 1,068 receiving yards has to be up there. It is also worth noting that Tuipulotu scored 23 career touchdowns, again in a limited role 17 rushing and six receiving. Also, according to BYUcougars.com he scored 12 TD’s against Iowa and 15 against San Diego State breaking every NCAA record, and the internet never lies… right?
Memorable Moments D
The most memorable moment I have of going back and watching BYU Football during the the early 1990’s is after a huge hit that Ty Detmer took Tuipulotu was the first player to help his quarterback get back up and keep going. He also scored the only rushing touchdown for the Cougars in the infamous 1991 Holiday bowl against Iowa that ended in a 13-13 tie after two missed extra points. Again with him living in the shadow of Ty Detmer, it is tough to have memorable moments.